Jul. 8th, 2011

eregyrn: (- Saw-whet - Spring2)
So now we reach the weekend of May 28th, which marks the last weekend spent stalking the great horned owlets. We arrived at Mt. Auburn and, to our great shock, found that the site of the nesting tree was empty. Really empty -- it lacked the police tape that had been strung around to keep people away from the tree, and it lacked the crowd of people with binoculars and cameras that had been gathered there each of the other times we'd gone. And the tree itself of course was empty of owls or owlets.

It's not fun to realize that they are probably still in the area, but good luck figuring out WHICH tree they're in. My recollection is fuzzy at this point, but I think what we did was walk back up to the information desk at the cemetery entrance, to see if anyone had earlier spotted them and noted it; and I think they DID tell us that the owls were still in the Dell area, so after a detour to try to find a screech owl that had been reported (we didn't find it), we made our way back to the Dell, and eventually spotted the owls by, essentially, looking for other groups of people scanning the tree-tops and hoping one of them could point the way. Which I think is what happened.

We discovered one of the owlets in one of the trees that the adult was pictured in the week before:

IMG_0818

More behind the cut... )

And that's it! I haven't managed to get back there since, to check up on them. As I said above, though, if the development of great horned owls is anything like the development of redtailed hawks, then I don't think the owlets will have flown off yet. They ought to still be in the stage of learning to hunt, and being fed by the parents. But as they get older and get more of their adult plumage, they are likely to fly farther and farther afield... and there are a LOT of trees in Mt. Auburn.

The summers when I've been able to stalk the redtails around Harvard have always been vastly helped by two things: the fact that there are a lot of buildings to perch on, which the hawks do, and you can at least SEE them on buildings; and the fact that at least some of the hawk babies have that extremely loud begging cry, which you can triangulate on to find them. While we did get to hear one of the owlets give some kind of call, which might have been a begging cry... it wasn't nearly as loud, and I'm just not sure if they do it as much overall.

Still, I should drop back in over there within the next couple of weeks, and see if any other birders have spotted them and noted the location. Maybe I can find them a few more times before they really do leave.

And here's hoping the parents use the same nest side next year. :)

yeeeeeegh

Jul. 8th, 2011 07:42 pm
eregyrn: (-Saw-whet - hairy eyeball)
It's an inauspicious start to the evening to have to KILL A SPIDER in your CLEAVAGE.

brb, icked out FOREVER.

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